Newspaper Articles

Charleston Gazette
September 28, 1960

Democrats Vetoed Aid, Nixon Says in Talk Here

False Statement Laid to Kennedy

By John G. Morgan
Staff Writer

Vice President Richard M. Nixon, in a major address here Tuesday night, declared that Sen. John F. Kennedy "should correct his false statement to the effect that 17 million people go to bed hungry every night in the United States."

Speaking in the Civic Center, Nixon also held Democrats responsible for failure of distressed area legislation.

"I believe that legislation to help distressed areas is absolutely vital," he said. "this help could be here right now if the Democrats in control of Congress had chosen to act responsibly instead of cynically vetoing the President's recommendations in order to build a fraudulent political issue rather than provide the needed help."

Nixon, wearing a noticeable application of makeup for his statewide television appearance, spoke before an audience which Civic Center Manager William Bolden estimated at 7,000 "insaid and outside." Bolden fixed the size of Kennedy's Civic Center audience last week at 6,000. Another estimate of the Nixon crowd came from Charleston Police Chief Dallas Bias, who placed the figure at 7,200 in the main auditorium, 1,000 in the adjoining little theater, and 2,500 outside - a total of 10,700.

Among the national dignitaries present for the Nixon meeting were two cabinet members - Fred Seaton, secretary of the interior, and Arthur H. Fleming, secretary of health, education and welfare - and Leonard Hall, former Republican national chairman who is now one of Nixon's main political strategists.

Nixon declared that a Democratic bill which Kennedy "bragged about" would have helped Charleston by making $589,000 available. That amount, Nixon said, compares with $961,000, or "almost twice as much," in the "Republican bill that the Democrats vetoed."

"The Democratic bill would have helped the major areas in West Virginia by $2.4 million," he said. But the Republicans whom Kennedy "complains about" had $3.9 million in their bill, that the Democrats vetoed, Nixon said.

In total, he said, "Republicans tried to make $8 million available to West Virginia. But the Democrats said no. They wanted to give West Virginia only $5.7 million."

Nixon said that Kennedy should correct the statement about hungry people "while Mr. Khrushchev and his Communist colleagues are in this country."

"this statement has been grist for the Communist propaganda mill," Nixon continued. "Just last week, the Chinese Communist paper, The People's Daily, cited it as proof of the fact that in America, a land of plenty, millions of people were starving."

The Vice President said Kennedy "cannot remain silent on this issue."

Nixon noted that his rival in the hot presidential race "claims that he based this statement on a Department of Agriculture report in 1955," which indicated that one out of 10 Americans had an unbalanced diet.

But, Nixon stressed, the report specifically stated that "this does not mean that those families were poorly fed or subject to malnutrition."

Nixon said that when President Eisenhower heard about Kennedy's statement he commented: "Well, I go to bed hungry every night, too, but it's only because my doctor has me on a diet."

The senator, said the Vice President, "should put his country above partisan politics on this issue and tell Mr. Khrushchev and the world that he is wrong in making such a statement."

Nixon asserted:

"He (Kennedy) also should state the truth - that while there are people in this country who do not share in our unprecedented prosperity as we would like, and while we must move forward at all possible speed to see that this situation is corrected, that all in all, the 180 million people of this country are the best-fed, best-clothed, best housed people in the world; that we have come closesst to the ideal which Mr. Khrushchev claims as his own but has never been able to approach - of prosperity for all in a classless society; that a lower percentage of people suffer from malnutrition in the United States than in any major country in the world."

The Vice President said Kennedy neglected to say some things when he charged here two weeks ago that Republicans were coldly indifferent to unemployment and distress in West Virginia.

Nixon listed these points as matters of fact which Kennedy hadn't mentioned.

"The idea of special legislation to help distressed areas was originated by the Republican Administration, not by Congress.

"For five long years this Administration has been trying, but without success, to get Democratic-controlled congresses to act sensibly on this legislation.

"The two bills rejected by the President which the Congress finally did pass were, in effect, a congressional veto of the basic concept that the President had been urging all along. The Congress vetoed the President's bill, passed something entirely different, then cried foul when the President firmly replied that he still wanted a law that made sense.

"When the President rejected the bill that the Democratic leaders rammed through over his protest for political purposes, he made a sincere appeal for sound legislation to be passed at once so this state and similar troubled areas could quickly have the help they need. My opponent did not mention that the Congress refused to act."

Nixon said "distressed areas of West Virginia need assistance and they need it fast," but added:

"Sen. Kennedy's leadership in the special session of Congress gives little hope that he would be able to get an effective bill through the next session if he were elected President.

"The best hope for action, rather than glib promises designed to win votes rather than help people, is to elect not only our national ticket but to give us the articulate support Cecil Underwood could bring to this problem in the Senate."

Nixon's Airport Talk Brief

By Don Marsh
Staff Writer

Vice President Nixon said laughingly said Tuesday that he's glad West Virginia is still here "in view of some of the things the Democrats have said about this state..."

The Republican nominee for President made his remark at Kanawha Airport before a crowd estimated at 3,000 - larger or smaller, depending on your viewpoint, than the one that greeted Sen. Kennedy nine days ago.

It was a brief talk, belying the adage that a candidate can't resist an audience. The gist of it was that he had to hurry downtown for his televised speech at the Civic Center.

Nixon looked fit and was smiling as he stepped from his blue and white airplane. He was greeted by a gaggle of newspaper and television photographers. For posterity's sake, his first words were: "I can't see for those lights."

Odious or not, comparisons are inevitable between the number of those who waited for Nixon and the number who waited for Kennedy.

Calvin Wilson, the airport manager, said he thought there were about 3,000 Tuesday and "I'd have to say there were a few more here for Kennedy. But they're so spread out, it's hard to tell."

It was a big crowd, a loud one and a happy one. Republican hearts were further lightened by the number of people who waited along the route from the airport to the Civic Center. There were lines of them along the route.

Mrs. Nixon was with her husband and joined him in reaching across a wire fence, that keeps spectators off the airfield, to shake hands.

Nixon was there only a few moments. He did take time to autograph a bass drum owned by the Charleston High School band. In answer to a plea to "make it big," he scrawled his signature and said: "There - just like John Hancock."

He made one slight flub, but one overlooked by friendly witnesses. He said he was confident that West Virginians would elect Cecil Underwood to the Senate in November and that he was equally confident that Underwood's successor would be "Harold McNeely," Neely, Republican gubernatorial nominee, mustered a brave smile.

Nixon, in a word, looked better physically than he did Monday night during his televised debate with Sen. Kennedy.

One of his West Virginia supporters said as much. "Lot's [sic] of people have told me I looked tired," the vice president said. "It must have been the lighting. I didn't feel bad. Then, too, I wasn't wearing make-up. I only had some talcum on my face."

Although Nixon probably didn't realize it, his appearance at the Civic Center represented something of a triumph for him.

He was scheduled to appear there once before, in 1958. But the late Mayor Copenhaver, also a Republican, declined to allow him use of the facility. The mayor said he was too partisan.

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